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Proteolytic activity and heat resistance of the protease AprX from Pseudomonas in relation to genotypic characteristics

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AprX is an alkaline metalloprotease produced by Pseudomonas spp. and encoded by its initial gene of the aprX-lipA operon. The intrinsic diversity among Pseudomonas spp. regarding their proteolytic activity is the main challenge for the development of accurate methods for spoilage prediction of ultra-high temperature (UHT) treated milk in the dairy industry. In the present study, 56 Pseudomonas strains were characterized by assessing their proteolytic activity in milk before and after lab-scale UHT treatment. From these, 24 strains were selected based on their proteolytic activity for whole genome sequencing (WGS) to identify common genotypic characteristics that correlated with the observed variations in proteolytic activity. Four groups (A1, A2, B and N) were determined based on operon aprX-lipA sequence similarities. These alignment groups were observed to significantly influence the proteolytic activity of the strains, with an average proteolytic activity of A1 > A2 > B > N. The lab-scale UHT treatment did not significantly influence their proteolytic activity, indicating a high thermal stability of proteases among strains. Amino acid sequence variation of biologically-relevant motifs in the AprX sequence, namely the Zn 2+-binding motif at the catalytic domain and the C-terminal type I secretion signaling mechanism, were found to be highly conserved within alignment groups. These motifs could serve as future potential genetic biomarkers for determination of alignment groups and thereby strain spoilage potential.

TidsskriftInternational Journal of Food Microbiology
StatusUdgivet - apr. 2023

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